/ Via ferrata recommendations in the Dolomites

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Nicola - on 28 Apr 2013
I am planning a trip to the Dolomites later this year and would appreciate any information and advice regarding routes, accommodation and transport. We will be looking for routes with shorter approach/descent and longer via ferrata sections. Our group is a mix of climbers and non-climbers, so I'm guessing the routes Grade 2-3 would be best. Can anyone recommend good value accommodation? How easy is it to get to and from routes using public transport?

Thanks
Fiskavaig on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola:This site will help you. The guy is a climber, he will give you a very good deal.Tell him i recommended him. http://www.dolomitesapartment.com/
Fiskavaig on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola: yhm
Nicola - on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Fiskavaig:

Thanks! :)
noteviljoe on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola: I had a great time when we went. We used the Cicerone guide Via Ferrata of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1.
We hired a car though so no idea about public transport.
Re. grades: the book mentioned splits the grade in two - a technical aspect (1-5) and a commitment aspect (A-C). Even the non-climbers in the group shouldn't struggle with the climbing aspect, it is all very easy re-foot/hand holds etc. As long as everyone in the group has a good fitness level and a head for hights you'll probably be fine even with the higher grades.
Re recommended routes - Sandro Pertini was a lot of fun and should feel like a challenge but not be out of reach for all of your group.
altirando - on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola: Get the Collett's Mountain Holidays brochure or go on their website. Even if you don't want to use their accommodation and leading, the pics give a good idea of the best areas.
davidbeynon - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola:

The Cicerone guides are comprehensive, but it can be a bit tricky to get a handle on what is where and link them up without a map.

If you are interested in day routes then there's a great new(ish) guide to the Cortina area that I find myself unable to find on google. It's available in the Cortina coop though.

I will look up the details when I get home.
davidbeynon - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to davidbeynon:

And in answer to your specific question, the Ivan Dibona route is a classic. Usually done in descent from Rifugio Laurenzi. You can either get a cable car up, or do as I did and ascend via the Rene' Del Pol and another route the name of which escapes me. That's a long day though.
Monkey_Alan - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to altirando:
+1 for Collett's

Went out for 10 days with my (non-climbing, but has done some UK scrambling) dad.
They organise multiple VFs and walks every day (except wednesday), and offer advice if you want to go off separately.
The accomodation and catering is excellent, a balance between "Hotel" and "Mountain Hut".

In terms of routes, my favourite was the Via Delle Trincee (4B) above Arabba. It's a long ridge with excellent views of Marmolada and the Sella Group and some wartime tunnels at the end. Cablecar approach and a rifugio at the far end for refreshment before the walk back.
Robin VdH - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola:

Hi,

Corvara is a good base for vie ferrate. It has a great campsite at Camping Colfosco as well as range of hotels and restaurants. It's also cheaper than somewhere like Cortina. There are also quite a few vie ferrate close by and is a relatively short drive to others, e.g. near Arraba. Piz da Cir V is one of those nearby and it's a good first via ferrata as it's about fifteen minutes walk from the road and graded 2A. There is also the brilliant, classic Brigata Tridentina (3B) (I wouldn't describe the walk out as particularly short though) and the Piz da Lech (3B).

I agree that it can be a bit hard getting your head around what is where from just the guidebook. I've found this website - http://alavigne.net/Outdoors/FeatureReports/ViaFerrata/ - really useful for planning in the past because it has an interactive map showing the locations of vie ferrate together with route descriptions and photos.

I've got other information on vie ferrate on my blog at http://thesevereclimber.com/via_ferrata/

I hope that helps. Have a fun trip.
kenr - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola:
> We will be looking for routes with shorter approach/descent
> and longer via ferrata sections

Here's a list of VF routes with shorter descents:
http://www.roberts-1.com/c/v/e/09a/index.htm#via_ferrata_northeast_Italy_w_less_down

If you have climbers as well as non-climbers, good to be aware that there are two different approaches to climbing a Via Ferrata route: The "normal" method used by 95% of people I've seen doing VF is to grab the steel cable for _aid_ instead of finding hand-holds on the rock. The other method used by some climbers is to clip the steel cable for _protection_ only, and propel yourself upward with both hands and feet directly on the rock.

For desriptions of many routes which include discussion of which VF are better for the second method of making moves with hands directly on rock, could try some pages linked from here:
http://www.roberts-1.com/c/v/e/#Italy
(this topic of "free" climbing VF was also discussed on UKC forum like three years ago)

Likely some members of your group will easily be able to climb routes harder than difficulty level 3 (but others will not). It's good to "work your way up" thru the grades, first because some of the easier climbs are rather good. Second because you really do not want to take a _fall_ on a VF route, because the "protection" delivered by a Via Ferrata kit is somewhat illusory ... For two reasons: (a) the "fall factor" is rather high compared to roped climbing - spinal impact injury followed by years of tricky back pain; and (b) there's often lots of rigid protruding stuff below to hit.

Ken
Alyson - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to noteviljoe:
> We used the Cicerone guide Via Ferrata of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1.
> Re. grades: the book mentioned splits the grade in two - a technical aspect (1-5) and a commitment aspect (A-C).

It's really worth paying attention to this A-C rating. Those three letters encompass everything from straightforward roadside crags (A) to glacier crossing (C - on Marmolada). We did a B on Sas Rigais and it was very committing in many ways. A good 4 hours from help, a 3000m summit and a sudden snowstorm (in July) all added some spice. The actual climbing is easy - although numb fingers created an extra challenge! - and there were some very exposed ridges between the lengths of wire which would have been quite scary for anyone not good with heights.

All that said it was one of the best days ever :)
sarahlizzy - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola:

OK, grades 2 and 3, fitting your other criteria:

Piz da Cir V - grade 2, above Corvara on Passo Gardena. Easy access from the road via ski lift, out and back, easy, popular, good views from the top.

Ivano Dibona - grade 2, Take the lifts up to Cristallo from near Cortina, walk as far along as you feel comfy with, then turn round. Longest foot suspension bridge in the Dolomites right at the start. Best to do this later, when you're acclimatised to the altitude, because it's up at 3,000 metres.

Brigata Tridentina - grade 3, but low in the grade. Above Corvara on Passo Gardena. VERY popular, huge car park, have lunch in the rifugio at the top. Descent path is well trodden, but a bit brutal on the knees. Consider hiking poles.

Laguzoi Tunnels - only grade 1 (I'd happily do it without a VF kit, tbh), but really cool and interesting. Approach via cable car from Passo Falzarago, descend on foot through the VF tunnels.

Averau - grade 2, near the summit of Passo Falzarago coming up from Cortina. Decent access from the road via chair lift, easier access via another chairlift if you want to do a bit more driving. Lots of fun. Do it in good weather for a walk to the summit (routefinding hard in clouds) for a *stunning* view of Cortina and the Tofana group.

If you want to try a slightly more challenging grade 3, Col Dei Bos (AKA Degli Alpini). Goes up a lesser summit of Mount Laguzoi. Start is high in the grade for a 3, but the hardest part is at the beginning. Lovely descebr round to the left from the top (don't be tempted to take the quick way down to the right - it's grotty), the latter bit of which meets up with descent from Laguzoi Tunnels.

That should be plenty to be getting on with. If your friends end up happy on 3s, you might want to consider Trincee as a finalé. It's a 4, but it's easilly escapable and spectacular.
sarahlizzy - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to davidbeynon:
> (In reply to Nicola)
>
> The Cicerone guides are comprehensive,

Not so much any more. They still haven't graded Ski Club 18, for example, which is years old (and obviously a 5C, by the way), and they don't even know about the existence of Magnifici 4 (to be fair, neither do the Tabacco maps).
sarahlizzy - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to sarahlizzy:

> If you want to try a slightly more challenging grade 3, Col Dei Bos (AKA Degli Alpini). Goes up a lesser summit of Mount Laguzoi. Start is high in the grade for a 3, but the hardest part is at the beginning. Lovely descebr round to the left from the top (don't be tempted to take the quick way down to the right - it's grotty), the latter bit of which meets up with descent from Laguzoi Tunnels.

That's left and right as facing the road, by the way!
prog99 on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to sarahlizzy:
> Brigata Tridentina - grade 3, but low in the grade. Above Corvara on Passo Gardena. VERY popular, huge car park, have lunch in the rifugio at the top. Descent path is well trodden, but a bit brutal on the knees. Consider hiking poles.
>
Theres a better descent down the other valley thats longer but more scenic and avoids the crowds.
sarahjk - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola:

Another vote for Camping Colfosco, clean and functional, not cheap tho. Lots of info in the village, as well as food etc.

We really enjoyed Tridentina and did the slightly longer walk out, which was still pretty steep.

Also did a newly built route over the pass that was great fun and much nicer walk out, slightly harder grade, but not really that bad. Sorry cant remember the name.

Have fun.
sarahlizzy - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to sarahkeast:

> Also did a newly built route over the pass that was great fun and much nicer walk out, slightly harder grade, but not really that bad. Sorry cant remember the name.

Suspect you're referring to Sandro Pertini. It's a 4. Very nice via ferrata, although too many stemples for my liking. The final section, where it goes vertical up a bridging corner for about ten metres, may upset non-climbers. I've seen people get cragfast on this VF, and would be wary of taking people on it unless they were OK with the exposure and possibly with being hauled up on a top rope.
prog99 on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola:
No-one has mentioned VF Dei Finanzieri – colac. Suspect it could get busy as it starts neer a cable car although quite quiet when we did it. Can do a nice circuit from the top.
altirando - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Monkey_Alan: And of course they offer flower walks even painting walks for those who just want to meander.
LJC - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola: The VF around the Lagazoui tunnels is interesting. It goes around the WW2 frontier defenses, trenches, tunnels, etc, and has some very, very, easy wired sections (we did it in reverse as a descent from a route, only using gloves and no kit). Could be a good option if people are looking for a good day out, but the climbing element gets too much.

Top hit random google blog for it: http://addiator.blogspot.co.uk/2006/08/lagazuoi-tunnels.html
sarahlizzy - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to LJC:
> (In reply to Nicola) The VF around the Lagazoui tunnels is interesting. It goes around the WW2 frontier defenses, trenches, tunnels, etc

WW1
Nicola - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to Nicola:

Thanks for all the recommendations. Much appreciated :)
LJC - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to sarahlizzy: Oh I wouldn't bother then. Far too old to be interesting :)
Cruty Rammers - on 01 May 2013
Head for heights is definately more of a barrier than the technical difficulty in my experience. Some of the exposure is incredible.
If you have non climbers, I would advise people to take gear even for the simple 1a routes. The popular one that goes behind a waterfall (forgotten the name, but is a really good day out) for example includes a steep downwards protected scramble which, while easy, is very steep and high enough to really ruin your day if you fell. Also a rather exposed and very high path. The Cicerone guide says "gear isn't needed", but we felt that we'd rather have had it for those parts. We were both non climbers at the time, and the highest grade we did was a 3b, if that helps.
Epic Ebdon - on 01 May 2013
In reply to sarahlizzy:

> Laguzoi Tunnels - only grade 1 (I'd happily do it without a VF kit, tbh), but really cool and interesting. Approach via cable car from Passo Falzarago, descend on foot through the VF tunnels.

It is super interesting, but if you're just going to descend via the tunnels, then leave the via ferrata kit at home. However, definitely don't forget your head torch! A helmet is also a sensible idea, as some of the tunnels are a bit low on headroom.
lucyh on 01 May 2013
In reply to Nicola: I can also recommend camping colfosco. Col dei Bos was a particually nice VF with nice shiny wires and a relatively short walk in past an old army hospital. Only saw a couple of people on it. I found it much quieter than the M25 of Brigata Tridentina.
yelotango - on 01 May 2013
In reply to lucyh: did col de bois VF then steep walk upto lauguzoi hut and descent via the tunnels mentioned earlier with a bit of a scree run past marmots back to the car park. Highly recommended. First 15-20m are the most difficult plus one traverse mid route where I had to use the cables.
Cruty Rammers - on 02 May 2013
Ah yes, that was the 3b we did by the old hospital. Quite long, something like 6-700m of climbing from the carpark I think?
The initial chimney nearly stopped the missus, but she made after a few goes and minor tantrum! I seem to remember the traverse feeling very exposed at the time, and just before that, a haul over an overhang, which although was only 6-8 feet off the platform below, gave a dizzying view hundreds of feet down to the valley floor. Good stuff.
sarahlizzy - on 02 May 2013
In reply to lucyh:

I'm quite fond of Col Dei Bos, but it might be rather intimidating to non climbing hikers if they haven't done gentler stuff first.
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icnoble on 03 May 2013
In reply to Nicola: Another option would be to head further south to the Arco area. There would be enough vf's to suit all abilities plus plenty of sport climbing for the climbers. And there is lots to see and do for the non-climbers. You could do all this easily with public transport.

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